National Voter Registration Day 2014: Fergie, Russell Simmons, 50 Cent & Many More Join HeadCount's #GoVote Campaign [EXCLUSIVE]
Fergie, Russell Simmons, 50 Cent and T.I. are among the 400 public figures who joined HeadCount's campaign this year to encourage citizens to register to vote.
On National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, the participating celebrities shared photos of themselves on social media holding a sign that reads "Register to Vote" and a link directing people to register online.
"When a musician puts their face and name to something it just reaches a lot more people than an organization can on its own," HeadCount's executive director Andy Bernstein told Enstars.com. "The total social media reach of all the entertainers in the campaign is 550 million. It's a mind-blowing number."
The non-partisan organization founded in 2004 knows the power of celebrity outreach firsthand. Two years ago before President Barack Obama was re-elected, HeadCount was proudly able to get 40,000 people registered to vote in one day with the help of their celebrity volunteers. "It was about half of what we did online in the entire year," Bernstein said.
With six-full time staff members and 12,000 volunteers nationwide, HeadCount aims to do the same this year. The New York-based organization will schedule registration drives at 600 concerts to get people involved in the 2016 presidential elections as well as the impending midterm elections.
"Every single member of Congress is up for re-election this year so everybody has somebody to vote for or vote against and it's sometimes surprising that people don't know that," Bernstein said about the Nov. 4 elections. "We have to remind ourselves that it's our job to make them aware of that."
Voter registration deadlines vary by state but they generally end in early October. To sign up, citizens can visit HeadCount.org and follow the directions after clicking the "Register Now" tab on the homepage.
"We will keep going right up to the election and remind people to get out to vote," Bernstein said. "Even after the voter registration deadlines we are still out there to publicize the election."
-- Anna Halkidis is a multimedia journalist, who earned her master's degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. Her work has appeared in Newsday, Women's eNews, The Mott Haven Herald, as well as other publications. Follow her on Twitter.